yellow jack

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The sailor's name for yellow fever, and also the slang name given to the quarantine flag in the International Code of Signals, ‘Q’ flag, which is coloured yellow. It was, too, the name often given to a naval pensioner in Greenwich Hospital who was too fond of his drink. Such a man was made to wear a particular coat in which yellow was the predominant colour so that the other pensioners might be warned that he was a man who might try to wheedle their daily ration of beer out of them.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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